DIY Update

Since you know I fell for the RV salesman’s pitch that the ‘soft spots in the floor shouldn’t be a problem’ I’m sure it won’t surprise you to hear I also bought the line about the floor being constructed of “Marine Grade plywood”.  All I have to say now is that if this floor is marine grade plywood you won’t be getting me out on any boat anytime soon!  BTW if anyone wants to know where I bought this trailer I’m happy to say Mike Thompson RV right here in sunny southern California. 

I started the floor project this afternoon after helping my friend out a bit at her warehouse and then taking the deposit by the children’s museum for my 2 youngest kids’ birthday party (yes, this year they are getting a proper birthday party).  Using a box cutter I sliced out the vinyl around the duct tape patch that was my first attempt at addressing the soggy floor.  It was pretty damp underneath and the floor was flaking away, so I kept widening the patch, looking for dry ground.  Pretty soon I had all of the vinyl up. 

The plywood under the vinyl was in such poor condition that it was easy to scrap it up using a small paint scraper and my little pry bar.  In addition to being wet it was home to some small bugs (sorry guys!).  Under the vinyl is a layer of styrofoam.  I can’t get it up without breaking it so I’m leaving it in place for the moment. The strip closest to the bathtub is the driest so I’m hoping I don’t have to excavate under it!  The area around the toilet is the soggiest and presumably where the leak is located. 

Had to leave it half-done (or undone as the case may be) so that I can collect my oldest daughter from school.  We have committed the afternoon to helping a local ministry that prepares a meal for the homeless once a week.  We’ll have to stop by the hardware store and pick up some plywood to cover the floor so we can make use of the bathroom while the project is in progress.  Photos below.

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11 Responses to DIY Update

  1. Rosa says:

    Good for you tackling this! It’s intimidating but you can do it.

    Since you have the boards up anyway, it is a good idea to spread some boric acid in there before you replace them – it kills roaches silverfish, and ants, is close to nontoxic, especially when it’s covered up (it will hurt your & the kids lungs if you breathe it, or hurt babies or small animals that eat it) and you should be able to get a small tube for about $2.

  2. El says:

    Try spraying some wd40 where the bolts meet the nuts in case they are rusted a little stuck.

  3. maja says:

    I’m sure you will do a great job!

  4. If you remove the toilet, replace the wax ring. Sure, some guy will tell it won’t hurt to reuse it. WRONG, according to guys that I know. Okay, maybe the don’t tell me the truth. Good luck in finding the leak, whereever it is. Good luck with the reconstruction.

    • boxcarkids says:

      I ran into a problem trying to get the toilet off – the bolts are on too tight and the space is so tight that my big vise-grip wrench won’t fit in there. The little pliers I have couldn’t budge it.

  5. Lynn says:

    I am decidedly UN handy but I recall when they put a vinyl floor in downstairs they used a waterproof form of plywood underneath. Called green board maybe? I don’t know but if you tell the place you are getting the plywood that it is for a wet area, they can probably direct you to the right stuff. If this is too late, never mind, hopefully you will be out of the trailer and into a house before enough time goes by for it to fail again.

  6. boxcarkids says:

    Pam – don’t worry! I’m up to the task of fixing this, even if it turns out to be a jury-rigged, half-donkeyed fix! Today I’ll finish pulling up the floor- the plywood seems to be a veneer with an adhesive back and it’s pretty easy to get up. Then I’ll turn off the water on the outside, empty the pipes, and see if I can lift up the toilet. The main thing is to get it on a more stable surface. Then I’ll make measurements and go to the hardware store and get a piece (or pieces) of good plywood cut, fit them back over the styrofoam, (unless I decide to pull that out too but I think the leak is coming from elsewhere and traveling into the bathroom as we have another soft spot in the aisle between the sofa and dinette), and we’ll be in relatively good shape.

  7. Linda P. says:

    I hope the repairs are proceeding as easily as possible.

  8. V's Herbie says:

    Excellent progress! Demolition is the fun part!

  9. Sara A. says:

    Have you checked with Habitat for Humanity? They have re-used building supply stores all over the country with prices cheaper than the hardware store. And they are nice people who might be able to lend you some of their expertise if you told them your situation. Also I often see salvaged building materials on craigslist.

  10. Lynda says:

    OMG! Can you get a silicone bead around that toilet? Good luck…you are one brave lady!

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